Friday, June 5, 2015
There are thousands of cats in India who need to be adopted and to find a good home, and it is not advised that anyone buy or search for a breed. Still, I was curious about why a particular breed was known as a Bengal cat. Surely they did not originate in Bengal? I discovered they originate in the US, and are named after the Asian leopard cat, P.b. bengalensis. In the 1920s and 30s there were some hybrids of the leopard cat and a domestic cat, and more in succeeding years, but the breed developed in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, from leopard cats and domestic cats, from the domestication of leopard cats, and from Egyptian Maus. The breed can be long or short-haired, spotted or marbled, in different colours including brown and silver. Long-haired Bengal cats are only recognised as a breed in New Zealand, and are known there as Cashmeres. As Cashmere is an odd British spelling of Kashmir, this name too comes from India.
Some Bengal cats have health problems, including early onset blindness. Hypertropic cardiomyopathy is present in 16.7 %. Once again, it is best not to get a breed. The ordinary short hair cat, is just as beautiful and far more healthy.